Category: Armageddon

Some groups think Trump is the Messiah?

So I’m checking out the blog of a fundamentalist who claims that Trump is indeed the Antichrist at the End of the World–not sure whether to believe, but curious how he counters objections and explains his points.  Then I come across this:

But nevertheless, Orthodox Jews do believe their messiah will be Jewish and of the house of David – which is true of the True Messiah, Jesus. But they do not recognize Jesus, and so they still search for their Jewish messiah, a false christ, the Antichrist. Please watch my video.. https://youtu.be/F-UxKCzsURI – This video observes that some Orthodox Jews are searching Donald Trump’s ancestry to find a link to King David. –Brother James, Misconception: Antichrist Will be Jewish and Not a Gentile

The video led me to this article in the Christian Post: Some Rabbis in Israel Believe Trump Could Be Messiah or His Forerunner, End Times Author Says  Lots of crazyness is there; especially note this:

“We would say the second coming is about to happen, but their messiah is going to be a false messiah. He’s going to be the anti-Christ, right? I also don’t believe Donald Trump is the antichrist. So I think the smart ones in Israel are looking at him right now, saying, he is God’s, what we would call, John the Baptist. He is God’s messenger. When he takes over in January there is a 5777 countdown to the appearance of the messiah,” Horn added.

The Jerusalem Post reported last month that Shas Chairman and Minister Aryeh Deri said Trump’s election could herald the coming of the messiah due to the blow he expects the next president will strike against the “non-Orthodox Jewish hold on the U.S. government.”

(So–If Trump is the forerunner, could the messiah be–Putin?)

Some groups think Trump is the Messiah? 1

I checked the Jerusalem Post link and did a little googling, and there is indeed such a person as Deri making such claims about Trump.  Meanwhile, Netanyahu has been doing everything he can to benefit from friendship with Trump, which has been fulfilling his wishlist.  Netanyahu has been playing into Trump’s narcissism, even naming a Golan Heights settlement after him.  ABC News reports an Israeli group is selling a special-edition Trump coin.

From Henry Siegman’s What my escape from Hitler’s Germany taught me about Trump’s America:

Since its founding in 1948, Israel has presented itself to the world as an avatar of democracy and guardian of the moral truths the world needs to learn about the Holocaust. Yet its governmental leaders and a majority of its Jewish citizens—led by its prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu—have fully embraced Trump (as well, in some instances, as the authoritarian leaders embraced by Trump).

Giant posters and photographs of Trump were recently plastered on the streets and public places of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Declaring “Trump is a friend of Zion” and “Trump Make Israel Great,” they expressed adoration of the man who doubled down on his insistence on the moral equivalence of neo-Nazis in Charlottesville and the Americans who took to the streets to express their abhorrence of these racists and anti-Semites.

So I don’t know how pervasive a belief in Trump as the messiah/forerunner actually is in Israel.  But there are certainly groups pushing the idea.  And to see a malignant narcissist such as Trump–one of the worst people this world has ever produced–viewed as a messiah is frightening.  He has a lot in common with, say, Hitler or Nebuchadnezzar.  Many of us see him as far more likely to be the Antichrist at the End of the World.  Or at least one of many antichrists which have popped up throughout history.

Meanwhile, I keep finding various accounts that some Evangelicals don’t bother fighting climate change because they see it as the End of the World rapidly approaching–meaning Christians finally triumph over their enemies.

Whether you believe or not that the Bible truly prophesies the End of the World, complete with plagues and the Beast (Antichrist) and one-world government etc., many people do believe and behave accordingly.  And we have several facts in front of us.

One is that climate change is real and is already leading to catastrophe around the world: erosion, fires, mass extinctions, floods, extreme heat, extreme storms, etc.  People are already losing their homes and being forced to move because of it; animals and other creatures are also on the move.  I’ve seen reports that farmers know very well that climate change is real, because they’re being forced to change their practices.  With or without prophecy, climate change could lead to the End of the World if we do nothing about it.

Another fact is that some groups of people are venerating Trump for various reasons, making him into a god.

No matter what you believe about biblical prophecy, these are very dangerous factors that could turn the End of the World into a self-fulfilling prophecy.  I don’t know about you, but I’d rather fight back, not sit back and allow this to happen because of our own stupidity.

 

Trump, Putin, and the Antichrist

I was raised in premillennial dispensationalism during Rapture Fever. I’ve tried to set that all aside and be more amillennial, after much study and becoming Orthodox–but those alarm bells keep going off these days.  Many people have been wondering if Trump is actually the Antichrist, if maybe it’s time to take those End of the World predictions seriously after all.

It even trended on Twitter a while back, not seriously but jokingly–though some people pointed out alarming prophecies that sounded like him.  Shortly after, I tweeted that Trump can’t be the Antichrist if he gets impeached.  But then he said we were pulling out of Syria, and I tweeted that I take that back because here he goes and sparks Armageddon: His actions allowed captured ISIS members to escape, and Turkey and Putin to get what they wanted in Syria–along with one of our military bases.

However, Putin seems a more likely contender for the Antichrist, with the Russian Orthodox Church as his Prophet.

Trump may be too much of a puppet of other nations to be the Antichrist, too easily manipulated by Putin, Erdogan, the leaders of Saudi Arabia, etc.  Putin’s definitely smarter than Trump, and he’s got the Russian Orthodox Church in his pocket (the Prophet).  The last two patriarchs are rumored to have been KGB agents.  The church blesses nuclear weapons, and separated from the rest of us when the Ecumenical Patriarch allowed the Ukrainians to form their own church separate from Russia.  Putin’s tentacles have been reaching all over–all documented as truth, and not conspiracy theories, by intelligence agencies of various countries.

He’s even got members of the GOP doing what he wants, along with Trump.  We see signs of this in both the Mueller Report and the Ukrainian debacle, along with reports in the news of politicians being benefited by Russians, Saudis, and others.

(Such as, McConnell is accused of allowing the end of sanctions against companies owned by an oligarch named in the Mueller Report–so that one of those companies could build in Kentucky.  Also, a group of aides and former officials are accused of working around Congress in a potentially illegal deal to get nuclear power to Saudi Arabia–and fill the pockets of many.)

GOP House members have been pushing conspiracy theories that are confirmed by government officials (particularly Fiona Hill in the latest Impeachment Hearing) to have come straight from Russia’s propaganda machine, his cyber war to turn the West against Ukraine and weaken NATO.  The biggest proponents of these conspiracy theories in the hearings included Nunes and Jordan, trying to shout down and ridicule and silence witnesses and House reps who told the truth.

Through Trump, American Evangelicals are falling into Putin’s trap as well, supporting Putin’s own tool to bring down our democracy.

As an amillennialist and preterist, I believe that the events commonly attributed by dispensationalists to the End Times refer to events that have already happened in history, either before or after the apocalyptic books (Daniel, Revelations) were written.  Also, that several events referred to by Jesus happened in AD 70, when Jerusalem was besieged with devastating results.  (Josephus describes the horrific events, complete with cannibalism.)

But the Bible also refers to antichrists not as a one-time event, but as a spirit that continually emerges.  A good run-down of the various interpretations is here.  My studies, including of Orthodox interpretation, have led me to believe that the prophecies refer to things that have happened, and things that will continue to happen.  I thought we didn’t hold to any part of premillennial dispensationalism, but some Orthodox sources say the prophecies refer to the End Times as well.

So you can say that Antiochus Epiphanes was an antichrist.  Nebuchadnezzar was an antichrist.  Caligula was an antichrist.  Hitler is the most obvious antichrist of the twentieth century, with the state-supported church as his prophet, bringing the whole world into Armageddon, then finally defeated.  But he’s certainly not the only one even of that century.  Soviet Russia was full of the spirit of antichrist.  Communist China is also filled with the spirit of antichrist.

Trump is shaping up to be an antichrist of the 21st century, throwing our government into disarray, systematically setting himself up as a dictator until nobody is left around him but sycophants and justices who’ll do what he wants.  The great irony is that Evangelicals, after spending decades warning us of the Antichrist, didn’t recognize him and are now worshipping him, becoming his Prophet.

But there are many people in power now who qualify as an antichrist: Putin, Kim Jong-Un, Erdogan, Orban; the crown prince of Saudi Arabia is certainly shaping up to be one.  Trump is doing his best, but we still have the workings of democracy trying to get him in check.  But are any of these the Antichrist at the End of the World?

That one can’t be answered until it happens.  However, there are some significant elements now in the world that make it possible: Climate change, for one.  We’re getting countless accounts from scientists warning us that the clock is ticking and if we don’t make drastic changes, we could soon see the end of human life on Earth.  This has been going on since the Industrial Revolution, but never faster than now.  Yet governments keep ignoring the warning signs because their fat cats don’t want to lose money.  Another element is the computer age.  Putin has been infiltrating the elections of various NATO countries not with the military, but with the Internet.  He’s found it easy to manipulate millions through Twitter bots, not just in America but in the UK and probably other countries as well.  There are ridiculous, unfounded rumors of body counts around the Clintons, but there are actual body counts piling up around Putin.

But then again, throughout history, antichrists keep meeting their end.  They all die eventually, after all–often prematurely.  Hitler met a spectacular end–like the hand of God–that led to the destruction of Nazi Germany and the deaths of many of the people in charge.  Kingdoms and empires are strong for a time, but always fall eventually, sometimes thanks to people rising up and fighting back.  We may still turn climate change around.  Trump is most definitely going to be impeached; there are many reports of his health deteriorating, and if enough people speak out, the GOP Senate could very well change their minds about removing him.  Putin could meet his own end in one way or another, or we NATO countries could finally win the cyber war.

Ever since my teens, I’ve seen various predictions of the End of the World from Christian “prophets” who turned out to be wrong.  I don’t want to say we are definitely heading into the End Times only to find out nope, wrong again.  Maybe, like every time before, the antichrist will fall but the world will keep turning.  But we do need to keep an eye out for the spirit of antichrist, and take care not to fall into his trap–whether he is “an antichrist” or “THE Antichrist.”

Update 12/30/19: This is not specifically an “endorsement” because I haven’t checked out the site/videos yet.  But here’s somebody who is convinced that Trump is the Antichrist: Brother James Key

Update 6/23/20: Benjamin Corey, a “former fundie” who starts out planning to make light of the whole thing, ends up, as he puts it, “unsettled” by what he finds in biblical prophecy, here.  He updated his post a few weeks ago; things have happened since he originally wrote it that are alarming (such as COVID-19 and events during the BLM protests) and add more support to the idea that Trump could be an antichrist–or even the Antichrist.

The Erotic Gore-Fest of “Glorious Appearing”: Left Behind Review–part 1

Glorious Appearing by Tim LaHaye & Jerry Jenkins, Tyndale House Publishers, ISBN 1414335016, available practically anywhere Christian books are sold:

A plot summary is here.

My first point is on page 149 because there isn’t a whole lot that actually happens in this book.  You’d think that nearly 400 pages of the climax and conclusion of this loooong series would be exciting, especially coming as they are at the time of Armageddon and Christ’s second Second Coming (that is not a typo)–but they’re not.

On page 190, for example, we’re still waiting for Jesus to arrive in the sky–and nothing much else is happening except for waiting and occasional skirmishes with the armies of the Antichrist.

Anyway, on to page 149.  The skies are full of supernatural lightning, as one of the Tribulation Forcers, Enoch in Illinois, worships and enjoys “The awful and terrible wrath of the Lord on display for the whole world!”

Er–What about calling it the wonderful deliverance of God’s vastly outnumbered people, about to get slaughtered?  Does everything have to be about wrath with these writers?

On page 178 is more of the same idea of God hardening the hearts of the “evil” people who refuse to repent despite all the many Tribulation events that are obviously the battle between God and Satan.

While I can see the writers’ point, I still have trouble with the idea that even if the unbelievers do change their minds, they can’t repent and become Christians, even though they haven’t even died yet.

Usually, doctrine says you can repent up until you die–or, in some doctrines (what I’ve seen in Orthodox and Catholic doctrines and theological opinions), after you die.  If it’s possible to repent even in Hades, then you should still be able to repent even up until Armageddon.

On page 191, Chaim says that,

I do not believe the Son of God is going to sit on His horse in the clouds with a gigantic sword hanging from His mouth.  He is not going to shake His head and slay the millions of Armageddon troops with it.  This is clearly a symbolic reference.

Oh, sure, with all the other unbelievable stuff you insist is literal, that is obviously symbolic!

Finally, after 202 pages of waiting and waiting and waiting and slowly moving and very little actually happening (other than people constantly wondering when Jesus is coming), Jesus finally arrives!  And the gorefest begins!

Page 204–gore.  Page 205–gore.  Page 208–gore.  Page 210–gore.

Basically, wherever this Jesus goes, Unity Army (Antichrist) soldiers just fall dead, “their bodies ripped open, blood pooling in great masses.”  Or their skin dissolves.  Horses die, too, and birds eat their fill.

As Susan R. Garrett writes in What Do Presbyterians Believe About Evil?:

In the final volume of the Left Behind series all the vengeance envisioned in the later chapters of Revelation is carried out. Here LaHaye and Jenkins understand divine power as just like worldly power, only more so.

“Power” in their view means fire-power, the power to destroy. So, at his glorious appearing Jesus slays millions of non-Christian storm troopers by the sheer power of a spoken word, and then causes their bodies to be instantly decomposed.

This is an image of Jesus wielding the power of death. But it is a false and idolatrous image.

God’s power is not the power of death, for death is “the last enemy,” which will itself be destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:26).

God’s power is the power to create, the power to endure, the power to forgive, the power to love. God’s power is resurrection power. It is the power of life.

Such power, freely given, is God’s answer to the problem of evil, until that great day when all creation is set free from its bondage.

Then Jesus begins speaking to the Christians, each person hearing his own name spoken simultaneously.  In an odd and clueless juxtaposition, we read on page 212, “Rayford sat in the middle of the carnage surrounding Petra, his heart bursting, the love and adoration he felt for Jesus coming right back at him from the clouds.”

Wait–in the middle of carnage?  Then in the middle of Jesus speaking to everyone, Rayford slides to the ground and repeats, “I am so unworthy…Unworthy, unworthy!”

Pages 213 and 244 are full of what an ungodly (pardon the pun) amount of the whole book is full of: clipping and pasting Bible verses and sticking them in the mouth of Christ (or others, on occasion).

It really feels like Jenkins had 400 pages to fill and only a tiny amount of plot, so he just started throwing in verses from the Bible to pad it.  These scenes also seem very corny.

Then on we go with more carnage and gore, things like entrails and innards gushing to the desert floor, Carpathia and Leon driving a Humvee that gets “bogged down in a reddish brown mud” and Leon having to get out into a sea of blood to push the Humvee out.

Pages of gore: 225-9, 239, 247, 249, 250, 252, 253, 254-6, 258, 273, 274, 278-9, 286….

Can we say, gratuitous?

Pages 275-276 are words in Jesus’ mouth which are clipped and pasted from Isaiah 40 and Zechariah 14.  So this is where the gorefest comes from, including the flesh dissolving–

But are we really supposed to take this so literally?  Couldn’t this be metaphorical imagery used to demonstrate the power of God over his enemies, written in a more barbaric age?

On page 278, Enoch, in a neighborhood in Illinois, goes through an earthquake and “heard Carpathia loyalists screaming for their lives.”

So–didn’t he go do anything to help them?  Or did he just let them die?  There is no indication that he does a thing.

On page 323, we read, “Jesus had told [Chang] that He was there when Chang was born, when he was raised in a godless home and an aberrant religion.”

I’m having trouble figuring out what “aberrant religion” Chang was raised in; it does not seem to be named, at least that I can remember over all these books, or find on the Net.  Just that it’s not Christian.

But in any case, that statement of a “godless home” and “an aberrant religion” is not only contradictory, but insulting to Chang’s family’s religion.

On pages 331 to 337, we see the new world with Christ now in charge. The weather is “hot, clear, refreshing, as if they were breathing new air.”  The trees and bushes are “suddenly full and healthy.”  Everyone can speak his own language while understanding each other.

Since all the evil people of Jerusalem and Israel are dead and gone, the million righteous survivors can live in their houses.

All animals are docile, and fat cows and sheep happily line up to be butchered for delicious meat.  The groves and even the city trees are full of fresh fruits and vegetables which just fall off the trees.  Yes, that appears to include vegetables falling off city trees.

As soon as the produce falls and is gathered, the branches ripen again.

Money is no longer needed.  It’s bright day and night–which I expect would suck when you’re trying to sleep, or want to get out of the glare.

All damage and residue from the earthquakes has vanished, leaving a clean, safe city.  Even the houses are clean and orderly, “as if a cleaning crew had swept through the entire place.”

And when people say grace before a meal, Jesus answers each of them “audibly and immediately and personally” in their heads.

No flies bug the food as they stop to listen and worship while Jesus keeps talking, which in normal circumstances would make everyone impatient to eat.  But for them, hunger can wait, and the food retains its heat.

On pages 351 to 352, the character Eleazar explains that during the Millennium, “anyone born during the Millennium who does not trust in Christ by the time he or she is a hundred years old will be accursed and die.”  While believers get to live all the way through to the end of the Millennium.

While the quoted passage (Isaiah 65:17-25) does talk about long life for the righteous, it does not specifically say that unbelievers will die at age 100.  Nor does it say that all righteous will live to the end of the Millennium.

Heck, it doesn’t even necessarily fit into the premillennialist doctrine of the Millennium, or 1000 years of a literal reign by Christ on Earth before the Judgment.

The passage says this is a “new heaven and a new earth,” or rather, a purified, glorified earth.  This comes at the end of time–as we see in Revelation 21, it’s after the Great White Throne Judgment.

The Orthodox Study Bible connects the Isaiah passage to Revelation 21.  So the references to people living long, babies, people dying, must be metaphorical, because after the Judgment, no one dies or is born or ages.

But LaHaye and Jenkins yank out of this hard-to-understand passage the concept that you have until age 100 to decide to “trust in Christ,” and if you don’t, you die; if you do, you live to the end of the Millennium, up to 1000 years.

You’re just making this up!  It just gets so unbelievable as the authors describe it, that the Isaiah passage must be meant metaphorically.  Especially since, in Isaiah’s day, Christ had not yet come to Earth, so he would not have been referring specifically to Christians!

An interesting aside on Isaiah 66:24, which is about the continual burning of the bodies of the wicked, and the righteous looking upon them, after all wickedness is finally defeated:

The Talmudists (t) observe from hence, that the wicked, even at the gate of hell, return not by repentance; for it is not said, that “have transgressed”, but “that transgress”; for they transgress, and go on for ever; and so indeed the word may be rendered, “that transgress”, or “are transgressing” (u); for they interpret it of the damned in hell, as many do; and of whom the following clauses may be understood:

for their worm shall not die; with which their carcasses shall be covered, they lying rotting above ground; or figuratively their consciences, and the horrors and terrors that shall seize them, which they will never get rid of. The Targum is,

“their souls shall not die;”

as they will not, though their bodies may; but will remain to suffer the wrath of God to all eternity: neither shall their fire be quenched; in hell, as Jarchi interprets it; those wicked men, the followers and worshippers of antichrist, will be cast into the lake which burns with fire and brimstone; they will for ever suffer the vengeance of eternal fire; and the smoke of their torment shall ascend for ever and ever, Revelation 14:10,

and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh; the true worshippers of God, Isaiah 66:23 to whom their carcasses will be loathsome, when they look upon them; and their souls abominable, because of their wicked actions; and who cannot but applaud the justice of God in their condemnation; and admire distinguishing grace and mercy, that has preserved them from the like ruin and destruction. The Targum is,

“and the ungodly shall be judged in hell, till the righteous shall say concerning them, we have seen enough;” Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible

From what I understand, the Targum was an oral explanation of the Torah given by rabbis in ancient times, to help the people understand the Torah better.

So–according to the Targum, the punishment goes on because the wicked never stop sinning, yet this eternal punishment only lasts until the righteous ask for it to end?

To be continued….